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Migration, local off-farm employment, and agricultural production efficiency: evidence from China

Author

Listed:
  • Jin Yang

    (Huazhong University of Science and Technology)

  • Hui Wang

    (Michigan State University)

  • Songqing Jin

    () (Michigan State University
    Central University of Finance and Economics)

  • Kevin Chen

    (International Food Policy Research Institute, Beijing Office)

  • Jeffrey Riedinger

    (University of Washington)

  • Chao Peng

    (Research Center for Rural Economy, Ministry of Agriculture)

Abstract

Abstract This paper studies the effect of local off-farm employment and migration on the technical efficiency of rural households’ crop production using a five-year panel dataset from more than 2000 households in five Chinese provinces. While there is not much debate about the positive contribution of migration and local off-farm employment to China’s economy, there is increasing concern about the potential negative effects of moving labor away from agriculture on China’s future food security. This is a critical issue as maintaining self-sufficiency in grain production will be critical for China to feed its huge population in the future. Several papers have studied the impact of migration on production and have yielded ambiguous results. But the impact of migration on technical efficiency is rarely studied. Methodologically, we incorporate the correlated random-effects approach into the inefficiency analysis of the standard stochastic production frontier model to control for unobservable factors that are correlated with migration and off-farm employment decisions and technical efficiency. The most consistent result that emerged from our econometric analysis is that neither migration nor local off-farm employment has a negative effect on the technical efficiency of grain production, which does not support the widespread notion that vast-scale labor migration could negatively affect China’s future food security.

Suggested Citation

  • Jin Yang & Hui Wang & Songqing Jin & Kevin Chen & Jeffrey Riedinger & Chao Peng, 2016. "Migration, local off-farm employment, and agricultural production efficiency: evidence from China," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 247-259, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jproda:v:45:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s11123-015-0464-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11123-015-0464-9
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    2. Ji, Yueqing & Hu, Xuezhi & Zhu, Jing & Zhong, Funing, 2017. "Demographic change and its impact on farmers' field production decisions," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 64-71.
    3. Hayatullah Ahmadzai, 2017. "Crop Diversification and Technical Efficiency in Afghanistan: Stochastic Frontier Analysis," Discussion Papers 2017-04, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    4. Shi, X. & Zhou, Y. & Heerink, N. & Ma, X., 2018. "The effect of land tenure governance on grain efficiency: Evidence from three provinces in eastern China," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277477, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
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    6. Rada, Nicholas & Wang, Chenggang & Qin, Lijian, 2015. "Subsidy or market reform? Rethinking China’s farm consolidation strategy," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 93-103.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; Local off-farm; Agriculture; Efficiency; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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